With relations between Prince Harry and the British Royal Family seriously compromised by revelations in his new memoir, Spare, a relationship counsellor has offered both sides a five-point plan to get things back on track. The Duke of Sussex’s book, which went on sale on Tuesday, lifted the lid on his troubled relationship with his relatives, including his claim elder sibling Prince William physically attacked him during a row over wife Meghan Markle.
He also gave four high-profile interviews to journalists including ITV’s Tom Brady and CBS’s Anderson Cooper, telling the former the Prince and Princess of Wales had not got on with Meghan “from the get go”.
However, Relationship expert Valon Asani, from self-described “nationality-based and meaningful dating app” Dua.com, said despite relations arguably being at an all-time low, the reconciliation both Harry and King Charles profess to want was nevertheless achievable.
She explained: “When being faced with a broken family, often we say, ‘I don’t know where to start’ but what we actually mean is: ‘I’m scared to start’.
“After a family fallout, one of the hardest aspects to deal with is to accept the idea that the other party feels wronged in some way by your actions, even if they were not intended to cause hurt.
“However, acknowledging how the other party feels, whether you agree or not, can show empathy and understanding that can then lead to more effective communication to be built.”
Harry had been “incredibly open” about the struggles he faced in the past, not least the lack of contact and accountability he perceives in other senior royals, Ms Asani said.
She continued: “The struggles that Harry details in his autobiography appear to stem from a lot of childhood trauma and repressed emotions from the environment he grew up in, which many can empathise and relate to.
“An acknowledgement from the family, whether private or public, of the difficulties that the duke feels he is facing could have a huge impact that could lead to a reconciliation.
“However, the same sentiment applies the other way round; Prince Harry should also acknowledge that the Palace may view events differently – as the late Queen famously said ‘recollections may vary’ – and their views are also valid.”
It was also important to find common ground, Ms Asani stressed.
She said: “The first step to reconnecting in a family can often be to find something that either party can bond over, no matter how big or small.
“This common ground can present itself in many ways, such as an event you may both attend or just a shared interest. Using something that the both of you have in common can be used as a catalyst for building up communication again.
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Simultaneously, it was important to set boundaries, she emphasised, explaining: “Prince Harry and the Royal family alike appear to have similar strict boundaries when it comes to the idea of privacy, however both parties’ action this idea in very different ways.
“Therefore, when communication starts again, they should both immediately share the boundaries that they are and aren’t comfortable with.”
Finally, Ms Asani said it was crucial not to rush if a reconciliation appeared to be on the cards.
She said: “It may be exciting or feel like a relief to have your relationship with your family begin to repair but remember to take it slow. The other party may be more hesitant than you are to jump straight back into the way the relationship used to be and acknowledging and respecting that is crucial to solving any and all problems.
“The Royal family, despite being extensive, are a very tight knit family, therefore, they may be hesitant to let Prince Harry and Meghan back into their circle after this fallout, which is something Prince Harry and Meghan must recognise.
“If the couple can recognise this hesitancy, they can more effectively communicate and build the relationship back up at a pace that suits everyone.”